Several days a week I head to the gym. I played sports growing up football, basketball, and baseball. I always enjoyed fitness and the competition. These days, the competition is typically against myself, whether it is lifting weights, running, or working out my salvation with fear and trembling. The gym has been an interesting place over the years. I have had many amazing conversations about the gospel, about love, suffering, mercy, and today annulments.
Today while I was running on the treadmill, I was running next too a long time friend. We have known each other since high school. Usually when I see her I we take a couple of minutes to catch up. She is pretty aware of my uber Catholic mentality and we rarely talk about the faith. Not because I do not desire to, rather, the few times I have broached the subject it hasn't played well. I realized early on that any conversation would likely need to be on her terms. As I have grown in my own faith, God has given me the grace to evangelize with greater care for others, I still have those police flashback moments. Generally, however, I try to be a better listener. I try not to always force upon people what I think they need, rather to discern where they are at and to give them what they can handle. That is not code for withholding the truth, it is straight talk for, telling the truth with greater charity and concern for the other person. I am never one to avoid honesty and today when I was asked whether someone who is divorced and has not had their marriage annulled should receive communion, I responded by saying no they should not.
Something interesting came of the conversation. Yes, we talked about annulments, but, because I was listening I picked up on something else. Something I feel was more important. A possible cause for her indifference to the faith. As I listened to her, I thought about my own life of indifference and my own witness to charity and truth when I speak with people today. I have no problem with truth. Oh boy, truth is easy. I have learned alot, and I have been blessed to remember a good bit of what I have learned. It is twirling around in my melon at all times waiting to unleash itself on some unsuspecting lukewarm victim. What I often struggle with is listening and responding in charity. Remembering that I myself was a lukewarm, unsuspecting, victim, not all that long ago.